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The "Anti-Valentine bandwagon"

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Tuesday, Feb 14, 2006

I went to the post office in Rockefeller Center yesterday, and I couldn’t figure out why the line was so long. Then, when I walked by the Godiva store and saw the long line out the front and down the corridor complete with a uniformed guard to maintain order, I realized that Valentine’s Day is upon us.

So let’s say you object to the commercialization of love epitomized by Valentine’s Day. What do you do? If you are like some Americans, you commercialize that anti-commericalization sentiment. This from a USA Today story about retailers’ delight in Anti-valentine’s product:

“People are tired of the pressure, of making it so commercial,” says Ana Weber, a dating and relationship coach based in Newport Beach, Calif. (In 2005, Unity Marketing found that Valentine’s is the third-biggest gift-giving holiday, behind Christmas and Mother’s Day; celebrators spend $126 on average.) “Romance and passion and love should be something more spontaneous. This is not a business deal.”
AG Interactive, the online arm of American Greetings, says more customers are asking for skewed (and skewering) Valentines. The company’s collection numbers nearly a dozen.

It’s naive of me to think that one’s desire to reject of holiday pseuedosentiment would stem from a wish to reject bandwagoning in general. If you are going to buy cards and novelty gifts anyway, why run against the grain? That is taking the lameness to an exponential level—not only are you going along with the prefabricated retail holiday but you are subverting it to make your participation in it even more attention-grabbing. And to top it off, you are cynically undermining something you are nonetheless reinforcing. Here’s an idea: if you think Valentine’s Day is stupid, then ignore it altogether.

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